Category Archives: Five Stars

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence by [Lynn McAllister]

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is an educational picture book warning kids, in hilarious fashion, about the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.

After spending too much time on her phone Pixie Van Dimple suffers from AI Infiltration. Someone must save her, and they better do it soon, or else Pixie will certainly be doomed.

This fun children’s book is told in rhyme and every other page has brightly colored comic art that serves as fantastic eye candy while reading the book. I think this book is more for higher grade elementary students, but in either case, the lesson taught here is a valuable one for todays youth. I loved the fun rhymes and the beautiful art and the story was very detailed. I would love to have seen this story as a kids chapter book for middle grade readers because I feel like there is some hints at a larger world that would be fun to explore.

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is wonderfully representative of todays kids and provides a good lesson in a fun story that will surely keep children laughing as they eagerly flip the pages of the this whimsical picture book.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B087BPDK11

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Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief

Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief by [Meg Nocero, Habib Sadeghi, Sherry Sami]

Butterfly Awakens by Meg Nocero is the moving memoir of Nocero’s life after losing her mother. It starts with a brief description of her childhood and introduces her parents then jumps right to her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Apart from narrating the difficult moments fighting the disease, we also get to see the destructive consequences such a loss can have and Meg’s deep grieving.

Nocero writes in a beautiful way that is descriptive and realistic at the same time, making it easy for readers to feel connected and empathetic. Her stages of grief are deeply felt by the reader and when she finally gets to the end of El Camino and finds freedom, every reader will feel happy for her achievements.

I appreciated the effort put into describing what she felt during each important moment of her journey toward recovery. An accurate description of her feelings helps readers impersonate and share the journey with her in an intimate way, which is what makes this book unforgettable.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt a bit of confusion between flashbacks and flash-forwards, at one point in the book it was difficult for me to understand when the action took place.  But this is a minor issues in an otherwise tell told and impassioned story.

Butterfly Awakens, by Meg Nocero is an enthralling memoir with plenty of emotional and heartwarming moments that will capture most readers’ hearts. Whether one has already experienced such a loss or has not yet, this story will stir the soul. I would recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with such loss or to anyone who is looking for a book that is emotional but inspiring.

Pages: 395 | ASIN: B08QZCR9FF

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Buzz the Brave

Buzz the Brave by [Gabriela Charatsari]

Buzz the Brave is an inspirational children’s book following the bravest of all bee’s. Although Buzz was not always known as the bravest, he was first known as Buzz the Wanna-Be and was banned from his hive for looking different. But when the queen goes missing, there is only one bee brave enough to find her.

This picture book is wonderfully illustrated with bright computer graphic art that depicts some very cute bees. The story is easy to follow, with simple words, that makes this book perfect  for young readers to practice reading. The story also provides a great example that shows kids how to overcome obstacles, not to listen to those who will keep you down, and being brave. Maya is a fantastically inspirational girl that accepts Buzz immediately and she serves as a great example of how children should be accepting of others that are different.

This was a fun children’s adventure story that follows a charming little bee that sets out to prove everyone wrong and gets his name written on the topmost branch of the tree as a reward for his bravery.

Pages: 74 | ASIN: B096WF5S9C

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War Bunny

War Bunny by [Christopher St. John]

War Bunny is a riveting post-apocalyptic tale with a wonderful twist that I thoroughly enjoyed. Humans have been consigned to history, and the land has returned to a lush world where sweet herbs grow by the side of rivers and the lives of animals provide the drama. In the world of the rabbits, the predators are the Blessed while a rabbit is doomed to live “only until it is needed” as a meal. They are taught to welcome dying as the natural order of things, and they’re held in such low esteem by the wolves and foxes who hunt them, that they call them “lunch meat”. Anastasia is a rabbit who cannot follow the rules, and she is cast out of her burrow for not conforming.  She also questions the rabbits’ preordained destiny as food for predators.

Author Christopher St. John has created a uniquely imaginative post-apocalyptic story while also providing some subtle but poignant commentary on society. The story is creative and droll at times which helps to break up what could have been an overly dark novel. One way he does so is through the clever use of character names. Regardless of their species, the characters all have names in a variety of styles, from the elegant Anastasia and Nicodemus to the goofy Love Bug and Bricabrac. With humor, he draws attention to his use of names when Bricabrac, the craftrat, introduces himself to a mouse called Death Rage. “O, that’s nice,” he says, without irony. “Very feminine.”

Besides this, the story paints a picture of a bunny world that is much more gory and violent than you might expect for rabbits. For example, where you might expect a warren to be called something like Cowslip, as in Watership Down, in War Bunny the home warren is called Bloody Thorn. The very name War Bunny sounds like a contradiction of terms and I love how that seeming contradiction is used throughout the book.

The ending was satisfying and I enjoyed the journey. War Bunny is a fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novel that provides readers with an offbeat but ingenious story that will stay with them long after they’ve put the novel down.

Pages: 378 | ASIN: B096D18C15

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LADY SILVER

LADY SILVER: Warlock Chronicles, Book I by [Bobbie R. Byrd]

Bryanna is powerful. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that she is more powerful than even she believes or understands. It is certain that others greatly underestimate the contribution she will soon make. A member of a race different in so many ways from humans, she is able to channel energy, perceive the feelings and internal cries of others, and maintain a shield of defense around herself and those she is bound to protect. There is an apocalypse on the horizon. Those who are responsible know not what they are about to encounter in Bryanna D’Isaac–the woman who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Lady Silver: Warlock Chronicles, Book I, by Bobbie R. Byrd, is the science fiction masterpiece centered around main character, Bryanna D’Isaac. Byrd has created an engaging storyline for fans of technologically-rich novels. Cover to cover, Lady Silver delivers action and drama all the while providing readers with superb character development.

Right out of the gate, Byrd’s novel sets audiences up for quite the adventure. We are introduced to the determined Syndria and her intense focus on the mission she has been handed. There is a certain level of ominous doom surrounding readers’ first moments with Syndria. The feeling of building anticipation is addressed on nearly every page. Byrd never allows readers to lose sight of the characters’ missions and the imminent danger which they all face.

Science fiction tales can not stand alone on futuristic aspects–there absolutely must be characters with depth who snag my attention. Byrd absolutely provides that with Bryanna D’Isaac and Devon Bastion. There is something about the mixture of warlocks and space that gives Byrd’s book a special feel.

I truly love the combination of wizardry and science fiction in this novel. Characters Bryanna and Devon could not have been paired any more perfectly. I highly recommend Lady Silver: Warlock Chronicles to anyone looking for a new science fiction author/series to follow. This book contains no lulls, no breaks in the action, and packs a great punch. I look forward to reading more of Byrd’s works.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B0997Y4T2B

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Unseen

Unseen: Evil Lurks Among Us by [Jeffrey James Higgins]

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us, is a gripping thriller written by Jeffery James Higgins. The novel has a strong line up of characters, an interesting plot and enough action to keep the reader glued to the book.

There are two main characters in this story, Malachi and Austin; the traditional hero and villain. Rookie Homicide Detective Malachi is a former economics academic, turned detective after the death of his father in the Boston Marathon bombing. Austin is a man hell-bent on revenge after he lost his girlfriend at the hands of an Islamist infiltrator. An ex-solider, he plots his revenge whilst keeping up his appearance as an innocent bachelor who lives with his beloved dog Sophie. These are complex characters, as both show that they have both good characteristics and traits, as well as more disturbing aspects to their personalities. At times both fight their own inner demons. These two characters are well developed and are supported by a range of minor characters including a girlfriend, children, an ex-wife and friends and colleagues. Although they aren’t as well developed, all the minor characters are an integral part of the story.

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is set in present day Washington. Higgins draws the readers into the story by describing the setting in detail. Opening the story with a scene in a bar, the action moves quickly to the outdoors, where even the oppressive humidity is described. Numerous sounds, sights and smells are described throughout the novel, as the story unfolds across various parts of Washington.

This is a fast-paced thriller that follows the typical structure, but the story is told from two points of view (Malachi and Austin’s). It starts with an action packed first chapter, with numerous clues and red herrings. Jam packed full of adventure; it keeps the readers guessing right until the end!

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is a fast paced and enthralling novel. The characters are well developed and interesting, and the storyline, while complex, is still easy to follow. But most importantly for this genre, the plot just keeps you guessing with many twists and turns along the way.

Pages: 377 | ASIN: B09BLN26MG

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My Aunt the Vampire

My Aunt the Vampire (One mad Rooster short stories) by [Paul Bird, Cassandra Allen]

My Aunt The Vampire, by Paul Bird, is the sequel to One Mad Rooster and is a lively collection of short stories that follow the hilarious and heartwarming events of one boy’s life. Within this humors collection for young teens, you’ll find him convinced his aunt is a vampire, battling haunted fireworks, and trying to outwit his English teacher.

Paul Bird does a great job of getting inside a teenager’s mind. It allowed me to connect with the protagonist because he felt authentic. It is that awkward age between childhood and adulthood where you can believe one thing, even when logic is rearing its head and telling you that your belief is wrong.

At the beginning of each chapter there is a picture that is associated with tit. They are cute pictures without being too childish and really brings life to these stories. Author Paul Bird also starts each chapter with a paragraph or two in the middle of the action and then goes back in time a little to help explain what’s going on. This can be a little disorientating at first but he does handle it well and everything within the story connects with that particular story.

While this is a collection of stories, all of the stories do have the unifying thread of having the same protagonist. It is a little difficult to keep track of when the events happen in the protagonist’s life, as I was not sure when these things were happening. But otherwise these were entertaining stories that felt grounded but still imaginative.

My Aunt The Vampire by Paul Bird is a well written collection of fun stories that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighthearted read with organically humorous situations.

Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07MY2B8PX

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The Destiny of the Wolves

The Destiny of the Wolves (Tales of the Earth Book 1) by [Paola Giometti]

A gripping tale of loyalty, companionship, love and survival, this story begins with a great grandfather recounting the legend of wolves that has been passed down through the generations, to his great grandson on his sixteenth birthday. It traces the journey of a young alpha named Kushi, as she explores the dangerous snow mountains leading her pack to their destiny, following her ancestors’ advice that she had witnessed during one of her visions.

Author Paola Giometti has written a captivating children’s book about the domestication of wolves. Told through engaging narration the story reflects on the evolution of wolves into dogs, and does so with a unique voice and stirring characters.

This adventurous story is set against the backdrop of the northern lights and treacherous snowy mountains that provide an exotic and alluring backdrop to this thought-provoking fantasy. Readers are also introduced to other wonderful creatures like the golden eagle and the majestic moose, along with the small pack of wolves that are struggling to survive. This enchanting combination ensure this is a story that is unforgettable.

The story portrays wolves in an accurate way, showing their animalistic and predatory side, which helps to establish authenticity in the story. When the wolves attack the peaceful villagers, they behave like savage animals and it is up to Kushi’s family, Finn and Felicity to take a stance and fight for the safety of the defenseless. This showcases strong morals that any child will be able to understand. After experiencing their love and care firsthand, Kushi realizes the importance of the relationship between humans and wolves. It marks the first step in building trust and creating a bond that her descendants would further strengthen. I loved watching this dramatic evolution.

The Destiny of the Wolves is an easy story to follow, which is great for young readers, but it still provides stirring and thrilling moments that create an impactful story that will stick with readers for a long time.

Pages: 120 | ASIN: B08GRJ9VJQ

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